Dr. Kia-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China and a leading expert on global artificial intelligence, returned to East Tennessee on Monday, May 6, to visit the Catholic school in which he once learned, St. Mary School in Oak Ridge. Dr. Lee, the author of the recent New York Times bestselling book, “AI Powers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order”, toured classrooms during his afternoon visit to the St. Mary campus. He graduated from St. Mary School in 1975.
During an afternoon assembly attended by Diocese of Knoxville Bishop Richard F. Stika, Father Brent Shelton, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Father Pontian Kiyimba, AJ, associate pastor of St. Mary Parish, diocesan Stewardship Director John Deinhart, Oak Ridge City Mayor Warren Gooch, and other dignitaries, Dr. Lee was presented with the first Distinguished Alumni Visionary Service Award by Dominican Sister Marie Blanchette, principal of St. Mary Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge City Mayor Warren Gooch proclaimed it Dr. Kai-Fu Lee Day in the city. Earlier, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank issued a similar proclamation.
Bishop Stika commended Dr. Lee and also offered thanks to one of the Dominican sisters who taught at St. Mary during Dr. Lee’s time there. The Dominicans taught their students about compassion, care, and creativity, Bishop Stika said. Through his innovations and creativity, Dr. Lee has now “brought the world together,” he added.
Watch this video of the awards presentations and comments from Dr. Lee to the media: